Top News Moon’s Hail Mary for EU to Back Easing North Korea Sanctions Wall Street Journal Putin hails Russia’s military might and says would use nuclear weapons only in response to incoming missiles Los Angeles Times U.S. anti-missile cyber defense could be less effective than claimed Axios East Asia Moon’s Hail Mary for EU to Back Easing North Korea Sanctions Wall Street Journal10/19/18 South Korea’s president is trying—and so far failing—to rally European support for loosening sanctions on North Korea, a move that also risks putting him further at odds with the Trump administration’s efforts to maintain pressure on Pyongyang. Following rapidly thawing relations between Seoul and Pyongyang this year, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is appealing to European leaders during a nine-day trip through Paris, Rome, and Vatican City, Brussels, and Copenhagen to boost engagement with North Korea. Japan and North Korea intelligence officials held secret meeting in Mongolia in October The Japan Times10/19/19 A top Japanese intelligence official close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a secret meeting with North Korean counterparts in early October in Mongolia, sources familiar with bilateral ties have said. The meeting in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar could be consistent with Abe’s stated desire to arrange a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after he received assurances about progress on the long-standing issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s. Vatican Mum on North Korea’s Invitation to Pope Francis New York Times10/18/18 Pope Francis received an invitation on Thursday to visit North Korea, a message relayed to him in a private audience at the Vatican with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. Mr. Moon, who is Roman Catholic, passed along the oral invitation from North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. South Korean officials said the pope had suggested that he would consider a visit if he received an official invitation. Middle East EU, Asia leaders underline support for Iran nuclear deal Washington Post10/19/18 European and Asian leaders are giving their backing to the Iran nuclear deal, saying the pact is good for global security and that it’s important to respect international agreements. At a summit in Brussels on Friday, the leaders underlined their “collective support” for the 2015 deal curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and say that it “is working and delivering on its goal.” Russia/FSU/Europe Putin hails Russia’s military might and says would use nuclear weapons only in response to incoming missiles Los Angeles Times10/18/18 Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed new missiles in the country’s military arsenals but emphasized Thursday that it would only use its nuclear weapons in response to an incoming missile attack. He voiced confidence that Russia could resist Western pressure and expressed hope that President Trump eventually would move to improve ties with the Kremlin. Multilateral Arms Control Japan fails to mention nuclear arms ban pact for second year in draft U.N. resolution The Japan Times10/19/18 Japan has again omitted any reference to a landmark nuclear arms ban treaty, adopted last year, in its draft annual U.N. resolution calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons — despite falling support for its previous resolution. The draft, submitted by Thursday’s deadline, will be voted on next month before being passed to a vote at a General Assembly session in December. U.S. Nuclear Policy U.S. anti-missile cyber defense could be less effective than claimed Axios10/18/18 Amid all the conversation around Bob Woodward’s “Fear,” there was a small detail that largely escaped public notice: U.S. cyberattack capabilities against adversary missile programs are weaker than publicly claimed. Woodward reports President Obama had initiated an ongoing program that “pinpointed cyberattacks on the command, control, telemetry and guidance systems before and during a North Korean missile test launch,” but “their success rate was mixed.” Opinion and Analysis Second summit, second chance Brookings InstitutionBruce Jones 10/18/18 U.S. policy is evolving rapidly, but not yet coherently, and not in a way so far that looks likely to forge a new form of stability in the East Asian theater. While the strange dynamics of contemporary American decision making constrain the diplomatic options, there are still pathways to credible success.